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Sunburn for 7.07.16 – Will Florida be Donald Trump’s Waterloo?

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray and Jim Rosica.

THE BIGGEST DANGER FOR DONALD TRUMP: FLORIDA via Nate Cohn of The New York Times – If demographics are destiny, Trump’s political fate could very well be sealed in Florida … The big demographic threat to the Republican Party isn’t a “blue” Texas or Arizona or Georgia, but the possibility that Florida will follow Nevada and New Mexico to the left. It’s extremely hard for a Republican to win the presidency without Florida’s 29 electoral votes. The polls suggest that Hillary Clinton might capitalize on huge demographic shifts to an extent that Barack Obama never did. She might even lead by the same margin in Florida that she does nationally — about five percentage points — even though the state has been more Republican than the country in every presidential election since 1976. To understand why Florida could shift so abruptly, consider this: The demographic changes in Florida over the last decade rival or even exceed those in states like Nevada or Virginia, but the Democrats haven’t gained nearly as much as they have in those states. When Al Gore and George W. Bush fought to an effective tie in the state 16 years ago, 78 percent of registered voters were non-Hispanic whites. When Obama edged Mitt Romney in 2012 by less than a point, just 66.5 percent of registered voters were. Other changes have also worked to the advantage of Democrats. Back in 2000, the state’s Hispanic voters, disproportionately Cuban-Americans, leaned Republican. The state’s Hispanic vote now clearly leans Democratic. The newest generation of Cuban voters is far more Democratic than earlier generations … At the same time, growing numbers of non-Cuban Hispanics, particularly those from Puerto Rico, have pushed the state’s Hispanic vote further to the left. But despite all of these shifts, Florida remained a state that tilted just slightly to the right of the country. The Republicans might not be able to keep up with Florida’s demographic shift any longer. The early polls show Clinton with a consistent advantage.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES $51 MILLION FUNDRAISING IN JUNE via Nick Gass of POLITICO – … slightly more than half of which came through the team’s burgeoning digital and small-dollar operation. “We just started our fundraising efforts in the last week of May and we are extremely pleased with the broad-based support in the last five weeks for the Trump Campaign and Trump Victory,” campaign finance chairman Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. “We want to thank our many volunteers and contributors that are committed to electing Donald J. Trump as President in November.” The campaign said it received donations from more than 400,000 supporters, with 94 percent of those giving $200 or less. The campaign itself raised “more than $26 million” in donations in June, while $19.9 million came through the joint fundraising agreement between Trump, the RNC and several state parties, and the other $6.6 million went through the joint fundraiser with Trump and the RNC. Trump personally contributed $3.8 million to the campaign in June, bringing his total contributions to $55 million.

ANOTHER ANTI-TRUMP TV AD AIRING IN FLORIDA via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Priorities USA and Vote Vets PAC teamed up on an ad featuring a retired general saying Trump “doesn’t have the temperament or judgment to be our commander in chief.” It’s the latest ad hitting Trump in Florida (and other battleground states) as Trump has not advertised at all. His only help in Florida was an ad from the NRA, while Clinton and allies have spent millions already.

VET BEATEN AFTER SAYING HE WAS VOTING FOR TRUMP via Heather Leigh of News4Jax – A 68-year-old Vietnam veteran was beaten … at a Jacksonville gas station after telling a clerk of the food store that he was going to vote for Trump … Charlie Daniels said he got into a profanity-laced dispute with a man who, once they were both outside near the gas pumps, pushed Daniels, punched him in the face and kicked him several times. The man left the scene in an older-model Chevrolet Suburban. Rescue personnel were called to the Shell station on Edgewood Avenue between Commonwealth Avenue and Beaver Street, but Daniels refused treatment and drove himself home. Officers said security video shows the confrontation and violence. Daniels told News4Jax that he was in line to pay for gas and began talking about the upcoming election. The clerk, whom he knew, asked him who he planned to vote for, and Daniels said, “Trump.” The man behind him became irate, using racial slurs and expletives, authorities said. Daniels said the abusive man left the store first, but waited for him outside and picked up where he left off.

HOT TAKE — 8 REASONS RICK SCOTT IS THE PERFECT VEEP FOR DONALD TRUMP via Kevin Cate for Florida Politics – 8) Cons. Scott didn’t build his $300-some million fortune with a fraudulent university, but he did help build a company that defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by way more, paying a record $1.7 billion fine. 7) Muslims. Scott was offending Muslims and Hispanics long before Trumpdescended down the escalator at Trump Tower. 6) Hispanics. Similar to Trump, and despite all evidence, Hispanics love Scott, according to … only Rick Scott. 5) Little Marco. While Trump’s insults are infamous, Scott is doing his part in Florida. He backed Trump over Rubio (and Jeb!) and is now working against Rubio in his U.S. Senate race, supporting mini-Trump Carlos Beruff, best known for unapologetically calling President Obama an “animal.” 4) Smarts. Trump could own Anderson Cooper‘s “RedicuList” segment, but Scott once got on it for insulting “everybody’s intelligence” trying to defend himself for using on-duty cops at campaign events. 3) Votes. Trump needs turnout to be as depressed as Jeb! after South Carolina. Scott has been hard at work, rolling back civil rights reforms that allowed nonviolent ex-felons to vote. 2) Money. Scott won in 2014 by outspending his opponent on TV by $33 million. 1) Florida. Trump can’t win without Florida, and Rick Scott knows how to win here.

MARCO RUBIO, IN REVERSAL, WON’T ATTEND GOP CONVENTION via Burgess Everett of POLITICO – The Florida senator will stay home to campaign for reelection in one of the country’s hottest Senate races, a Rubio official confirmed Wednesday. “Florida has always been a competitive state, and it will be this fall. Marco had planned to go to the convention before he decided to seek reelection. Since Marco got into the race late, he will be in Florida campaigning and meeting with voters instead of going to Ohio,” Rubio spokeswoman Oliva Perez-Cubas wrote in an email.

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PATRICK MURPHY SEEKS TO MOVE ON FROM RESUME INFLATION CLAIMS via Tarini Parti of BuzzFeed News – When Murphy introduced himself to about 150 supporters at a fundraiser … he didn’t mention his background as a CPA and small-business owner — the two details that Republicans hope to use against him in what’s expected to be one of the most expensive, hotly-contested Senate races this year. “What I always think when I do these events, when I meet new people is tell them something that they don’t always know about; talk about the issues,” said Murphy … He added that those are well-known parts of his bio. “It’s on Wikipedia. It’s out there.” After more than a week of intense scrutiny, Murphy is trying hard to move on … “As I’m sure you’ve already seen, those articles have been debunked. Right?” Murphy said in the interview. “And I’m proud of being one of nine CPAs in the House. I’m proud of being a small-business owner. And quite frankly, when I announced to run for Senate, I knew it was going to be a hard race. It’s politics. I get that … So I guess I’m really not surprised that Sen. Rubio is trying to distract from his own record … He’s going to have to do some deflection here, so people don’t realize the fact that he’s missed the most votes. His friends are going to try to smear me. That’s politics and that’s fine. I’m going to continue to talk about issues — like I did in there — that I think everyday Floridians care about.” When pressed specifically on his father’s involvement in his small business — an aspect of the investigation that fits into Murphy’s opponents’ narrative of pointing to his family wealth as the reason behind many of his achievements — Murphy maintained that he had never mischaracterized his business and told the story of his father living the American Dream with how he started his own company.

DEMOCRATS LAUNCH ADS VS. HOUSE REPUBLICANS via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Starting Monday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will start airing ads targeting 10 GOP members of Congress — including Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo. The seven-figure, national ad buy will include ads on cable TV and online. Aiming for an audience of independent women, the ads will air on cable news as well as entertainment and lifestyle networks. It’s the first time the DCCC is beginning its ad campaign so early, in an effort to nationalize congressional campaigns and tie House members to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. The spots will run through the end of the Republican National Convention on July 21.

GREG EVERS’ AR-15 WINNER SELECTED via Will Isern of the Pensacola News-Journal – Carrie Martin was the winner randomly chosen from among hundreds who liked and shared posts from Evers’ Facebook page to enter the giveaway. A spokesman for Evers‘ congressional campaign said the transfer of the “Homeland Defender” rifle would take place next week at Pensacola Indoor Shooting Range. Evers’ giveaway was first announced a week after the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and drew harsh criticism from gay rights groups who said it was disrespectful to those killed in the shooting. “This is about terror here at home and the need for Americans to be vigilant in defending the homeland,” Evers said in a video posted to Facebook. “There has never been a greater time to defend the Second Amendment.”

— “Mel Martinez endorses Francis Rooney in CD 19” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics

TIM CANOVA RAISES $1.7 MILLION IN LAST 3 MONTHS via Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel — Canova, the Hollywood Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston in the August primary, raised $1.7 million in the second quarter. That brings his total for the year to $2.25 million, a strong showing for any challenger to an incumbent.

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GEORGE GAINER SET FOR BYPASS SURGERY via John Henderson of the Panama City News Herald – Gainer, who is slated to move into the state Senate District 2 seat in November, said doctors do not consider the procedure to be life-threatening. Speaking from Bay Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon, where he was going through some pre-tests for the surgery, Gainer told The News Herald the operation will take place at the latest by Monday. Gainer said he had been undergoing a minor medical procedure Wednesday when the blockage was discovered.

JASON PIZZO GIVES CAMPAIGN ANOTHER $200K LOAN via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – It’s the second $200,000 loan the North Miami Beach attorney has given his campaign since getting into the race in May. He has raised $3,400 outside of that money and spent $103,296, mostly on campaign consulting and mailers. He is running for a Miami-Dade County-based seat in a crowded Democratic field that includes state Rep. Daphne Campbell, former Miami Beach City Commissioner Michael Góngora, former state Rep. Phillip Brutus, and former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns among others. With his personal loans, Pizzo has an early campaign cash advantage in the race to replace incumbent Gwen Margolis, who announced she would not seek re-election after nearly 40 years in elected office … Pizzo lists his net worth at $10 million, and indicating when first filing he would put a large amount of personal money into his campaign. He had served as assistant state attorney at the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office and is now Land Development, Zoning & Environmental Department at law firm Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.

ED NARAIN FIRST CANDIDATE IN SD 19 RACE TO GO ON THE AIR WITH NEW AD via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – The ad features a brief cameo of his school-teacher wife, Monica, and a bigger platform for the Narain’s two young daughters. “Being a husband and father are the two most important jobs that I have,” Narain said. “My family keeps me grounded and reminds me of all the reasons I fight so hard for our community in Tallahassee.”

HAPPENING TONIGHT: Democratic candidate Loranne Ausley holds a Tallahassee fundraiser to support her bid for House District 9. Event begins 5 p.m. at the Proof Brewing Company, 644 McDonald Drive in Tallahassee. RSVP to 850-544-7382 or

BEN DIAMOND CHALLENGES ERIC LYNN TO A SERIES OF DEBATES IN HD 68 DEM RACE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – With less than 60 days before voters in Pinellas County will go to the polls, Diamond is now calling for a number of political debates to give the voters a better look at who the two candidates are, and what they believe in. Diamond sent a letter to Lynn … recommending that they work with various groups to host a series of five to seven debates. “I believe it is important that Pinellas residents hear directly from us about why we are running for the Florida House, our platforms for work in state government, and how we will address the issues that matter to the voters in Tallahassee.”

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AMID RISING CRITICISM OVER ALGAE, SCOTT PROPOSES GRANT PROGRAM… NEXT YEAR via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – Scott said he will ask the Legislature next year to establish a 50-50 grant program between the state and local governments to finance efforts to move homeowners away from using septic tanks and also encourage cities to build new wastewater treatment centers. Scott said details about the grant program are still being developed … Scott also continued to divert blame toward the federal government for failing to replace or rebuild the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Discharges from the big lake, designed to lower water levels and reduce the risk of nearby flooding, is a major contributor to the fouling of the St. Lucie estuary and other waterways with nutrients from farm and housing runoff that leads to the growth of algae. Environmentalists and many citizens’ groups, though, also argue that Scott and the Republican-led Legislature haven’t done enough to enforce clean water standards and blunt the impact of the politically powerful agricultural industry on Lake Okeechobee. “While the state has continued to step up and invest in important restoration projects to help South Florida waterways, it is clear that more work has to be done,” Scott said.

TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: But @FLGovScott proposal won’t get enacted until early May 2017 at earliest. Plus, proposal doesn’t address Lake O land purchase idea … This move by @FLGovScott does show a step away from strategy of blaming feds for failing to provide more money for Lake O dike repairs

— “Some environmentalists decry Scott’s proposal to combat algae blooms” via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO

WATER MANAGERS DIVERT BILLIONS OF GALLONS FROM LAKE O TO MARTIN COUNTY FPL FACILITY via Chuck Weber of – In response to the toxic algae blooms emergency on Florida’s coastline and waterways, billions of gallons of Lake Okeechobee water are now being diverted to the Florida Power and Light Clean Energy Center in Martin County. The plant serves hundreds of thousands of homes, using primarily natural gas and solar … Located in Indiantown, the facility holds a 6800-acre reservoir as a cooling pond. Gov. Scott‘s executive order directed them to look for private locations to store the excess water South Florida Water Management District officials say. FPL expects to take on more than 2 billion gallons a month in the pool through September.

EVERGLADES FOUNDATION STILL PEDDLING ITS DEBUNKED SCIENCE via Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News – It’s unfathomable to me that the Everglades Foundation can continue to claim “hypersalinity” is killing seagrass in Florida Bay — proposing to “send water south” from Lake Okeechobee to save the bay … Eric Eikenberg, the Foundation’s CEO, issued a press statement saying just that … How many times does Eikenberg have to hear from scientists working in the field — really working for decades studying the decline of coral reefs, for example — that the “science” he’s peddling doesn’t hold water (pun intended) — particularly for Florida Bay? The Foundation’s hypothesis belongs in mothballs. It’s been around for decades. It was demonstrated to be fatally flawed in the early 1990s when the newly formed Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) was established to “protect water quality” in Florida Bay and the Florida Keys … After FKNMS officials demanded more fresh water, water flows were ramped up to both Shark River Slough and Taylor Slough, bringing more freshwater to Florida Bay — and the salinity dropped … Rather than improving water quality, massive blue-green algae blooms, similar to those currently impacting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, formed in Florida Bay and were carried by currents through the tidal channels of the Keys, all the way to sensitive offshore coral reefs. Not only did this trigger more seagrass die-off in the bay by reducing much-needed light, but also a sponge die-off, and a plethora of coral diseases in the “Marine Sanctuary” that reduced living coral cover by some 40 percent between 1996 and 2000. And, because of all the septic tanks and sewage discharging into Keys coastal waters, the reduced salinity and regional algae blooms triggered a proliferation of fecal bacteria that closed area beaches — all the way from Key Largo to Key West. Yes, the beaches were closed, just like this past week in Martin County. The problem was, the Bay needed clean water, not just fresh water. The nitrogen in the dirty fresh water stimulated the blue-green algae blooms in Florida Bay, and the regional water quality has not been the same since.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Senate President Andy Gardiner and Estero Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues are among the speakers at a news conference to launch the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which will allow people with disabilities to enroll in a tax-free savings and investment account without affecting government benefits. Press availability begins 10 a.m. on the fourth floor of the Capitol.

GUNS ARE A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE FOR FLORIDA CHILDREN via Kathleen McGrory for the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism – For my 2016 National Fellowship project, I’m hoping to address the scope of the problem and tell the stories of Florida children and families affected by gun violence and accidents … I’d also like to explore the emotional, psychological and physical toll a shooting has on a child … Experts across Florida consider guns among the top public health issues for children. The Florida Legislature has taken action on other public health issues (i.e., mandating seatbelts and helmets, and promoting healthy eating in schools.) So where are lawmakers on child gun deaths? Most physicians would say state lawmakers have actually made the situation worse. In 2011, Florida became the first state to pass a law instructing health care practitioners to avoid discussing gun ownership with their patients. Supporters said gun owners had long felt bullied by doctors with anti-gun agendas. But the move outraged pediatricians, who say counseling parents about firearm storage is one of the most effective ways to keep kids safe. State lawmakers have also declined to take up “safe storage” and “smart gun” proposals. The National Rifle Association, which backed the so-called “Docs versus Glocks” bill and opposes gun storage legislation, is a powerful force in state politics. Florida is, after all, the state that pioneered stand your ground legislation. My project will explore the NRA’s influence in Tallahassee, as well as that exerted by gun safety groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

ANTI-BEAR HUNT GROUP DROPS SUIT AFTER CONCILIATORY STATE DECISION via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – A group seeking to block black bear hunting in Florida quietly filed a motion of voluntary dismissal of a lawsuit after … The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission … June 22 voted to delay the hunt by a year to allow more analysis of the bear population. Speak Up Wekiva!, which filed the lawsuit in 2015 that led to a state circuit court hearing and expert testimony in October, fulfilled a promise made to dismiss the case if the hunt was delayed, group president Chuck O’Neal said. The request for a dismissal was filed June 24, two days after the commission vote. O’Neal, a Democratic candidate in a state Senate primary in Central Florida, said this week his group will monitor follow-up actions by the agency.

MORMONS OFFER 17,000 ACRES FOR STATE CONSERVATION via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — State Acquisition and Restoration Council staff members will be spending the summer in the vicinity of hell — that’s Tate’s Hell State Forest. They will be surveying more than 17,000 acres of rolling sand hills, hardwoods, and marshes to see if the swath of wild north Florida is worthy of being included on the Florida Forever priority list as conservation land. “There’s nothing like this for sale anywhere near the Gulf,” said Steve Saunders, a realtor representing the Church of Latter Day Saints’ interests in selling the tract of Franklin County land.  “It’s very, very unique. Seventeen miles of water frontage; the Gulf, the river, the bay.  How do you put a price on that?” Well, they did. And if the state likes the price then some locals will be left with mixed feelings. Conservation land is tax exempt, depriving local governments of property tax money. “We’re all environmentalists here. There’s no doubt about that,” said Franklin County Commissioner Joseph Parrish. “But there’s a concern when you take another 17,000 acres off the tax rolls.”

MEDICAID ENROLLMENT STABILIZING, BUT COSTS MAY NOT FOLLOW SUIT via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida – State budget officials agreed that the rate of growth in the state’s Medicaid program is slowing as a result of longer-term effects of the Affordable Care Act … Budget staff from the Legislature and the governor’s office met with Medicaid experts at the state Agency for Health Care Administration and agreed that for the current fiscal year, 152,000 to 158,000 fewer people will enroll than the Legislature assumed when it created the budget in January. The current fiscal year budget … assumes there will be 4.26 million people enrolled in the program, which pays the health care costs for the poor, elderly and disabled … The state was seeing not just growth in Medicaid in recent years but “leaps” in the percentage of Floridians who were covered by Medicaid … Budget documents show Medicaid enrollment jumped by more than 8 percent in fiscal year 2014-15 and another 7.4 percent in fiscal year 2015-2016. The Legislature had expected enrollment to grow by nearly 6 percent this fiscal year, but now that isn’t expected to occur.


Danny Jordan, One Eighty Consulting: Copley Consulting Group

Jerry McDaniel, Southern Strategy Group: School District of Clay County

Paul Mitchell, Southern Strategy Group: Sunz Insurance Company

DISNEY’S DIGITAL GENERAL via Tom Dotan and Martin Peers of The Information – The Walt Disney Co. executives have been deep in discussions with Major League Baseball over a proposed billion-dollar investment in the league’s video streaming division. And the man leading the talks [is] one of CEO Bob Iger‘s top lieutenants, Kevin Mayer. … If, as some expect, Disney decides to try to buy full control of Vice, the … 54-year-old chief strategy officer will likely be the one who leads the backroom negotiations.

MARVEL’S NEW IRON MAN IS A BLACK WOMAN via Eliana Dockterman of Time magazine – The events at the end of the comic book event series Civil War II will result in Tony Stark stepping out of the Iron Man suit and a new character, Riri Williams, taking over … Riri is a science genius who enrolls in MIT at the age of 15. She comes to the attention of Tony when she builds her own Iron Man suit in her dorm. Creator and Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis spoke about the creation of Riri Williams … and Marvel’s increasingly diverse cast of characters: “… this story of this brilliant, young woman whose life was marred by tragedy that could have easily ended her life—just random street violence—and went off to college was very inspiring to me. I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for a while until I had the right character and the right place … As we’ve been slowly and hopefully very organically adding all these new characters to the Marvel Universe, it just seemed that sort of violence inspiring a young hero to rise up and act, and using her science acumen, her natural born abilities that are still raw but so ahead of where even Tony Stark was at that age, was very exciting to me.” What’s been the reception of the character so far (before this announcement)? “Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it’s getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans … when you’re introducing new characters, you’re always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood.”

WHY SNAPCHAT JUST MADE ITS BIGGEST CHANGE EVER via Alex Fitzpatrick of Time magazine – The new feature, called “Memories,” works like a holding bin for photos and videos that can be added to a Snapchat story later on. The new feature is a sea change for Snapchat, where in-the-moment sharing has long been the name of the game. That sense of immediacy is one of the platform’s chief draws over rivals like Instagram, where many users take great pains to present their lives in the best possible light through careful curation. With the addition of Moments, Snapchat is opening the door to that same degree of self-editing. Social media users are notorious for being cool toward major changes to their favorite apps. So why is Snapchat, which recently surpassed Twitter in terms of daily users, taking the risk? Advertising may have something to do with it. The company is for the first time beginning to show users ads in between their friends’ stories. Allowing Snapchat users to make stories with older footage could result in more stories, which in turn means more room for ads.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a trio of solid Florida politicos, Brad Herold, Tim Nungesser, and Tim Stapleton.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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